Five apps from the COVID-19 pandemic that made life a little easier
Five apps from the pandemic that made life a little easier
Need food delivery? There’s an app for that. Want to interact with your friends or colleagues through the lockdowns? There’s an app for that too. I mean lots of apps.
Covid-19 raised the app game as many got stuck in their homes and mobile usage started to burst through the roof. Entertainment platforms from video to gaming, on-demand apps from food, groceries to telemedicine, and remote work technology from zoom to teams. Apps which were once optional has now become a necessity. Amongst the sea of apps out there, many altruistic ones have also emerged from the pandemic and gained traction as more developers pandered towards social responsibility versus commercial calling.
Move over Zoom and Tik Tok. Here are our top picks among these do-good apps:
South Korea’s contact tracing app
There are different approaches to combat COVID-19 but keeping the public fully informed of outbreak updates and infection risks with open and transparent disclosure of real-time information has been a central feature of every government’s response.
South Korea, a country well-known for innovation and technology, other than K-pop, developed an app in collaboration with private and public institutions to contain the virus.
From government agencies like the Korea Meteorological Administration and 17 provincial governments, to mobile network providers and cellphone manufacturing companies, the app was built to ensure prompt, targeted and field-based solutions.
Development of the app started way back in 2015 after the outbreak of MERS in South Korea. Not only does it use recall contact tracing, the app also tracks contacts using mobile, credit card and CCTV data, and made use of Korea’s public warning system based on Cell Broadcasting Service to send out customised emergency alert messages simultaneously to millions of mobile users at city and district levels.
Sounds much like Big Brother? Perhaps. But it’s shown the world how to beat Covid-19 with effective containment, resulting in low infection rates compared to other countries of a similar size.
India’s Jan Sahayak HelpMe app
What if an app could help the needy to have access to government services and emergency assistance such as food parcels at the touch of a button? That’s what India’s Jan Sahayak HelpMe app hopes to do.
Many needy families in India especially those in the rural areas have been hard hit by the pandemic with severe limitation to access of services and aid. Developed as an initiative by the government of Haryana to provide a single point of interface to citizens, the app aims to provide convenience to the people through one click, accessing government services, emergency helplines and other useful COVID-19 related information.
Facilities include food delivery, telemedicine, bank appointments and even to receive funds disbursement through the option of home delivery of cash. It even provides the option of home delivery of cash to the needy. The postman will certainly be someone that everyone is looking forward to meet.
Like it or not, mental health issues have certainly accelerated because of COVID-19 due to lockdowns, economic uncertainty and separation from loved ones. In Asia where mental health issues are still taboo and not widely discussed, the pandemic has brought on an exacerbation of this issue.
Enter PlusVibes, a platform established to provide mental health support to Malaysians, integrated with mental health associations, clinics, volunteer listeners and campaigners. With the aim to break cultural perspectives and stigma concerning mental health, the app is completely anonymous with all features free for users. Those in distress can reach out for assistance, look for curated motivational articles and videos, and even complete relaxation activities like face yoga or listen to peaceful soundtracks.
While everyone has their preference for a mental health service that best suit their needs, the app has certainly gained a loyal following among Malaysians, who have gravitated towards this platform for its connection to local NGOs, associations and volunteer listeners for free.
Hong Kong’s City in Time
Picture a tram traversing across a canal right in front of your very eyes when you are standing on a street right in the middle of Wan Chai. Hong Kong locals and tourists can now travel through time with their smartphones through a new augmented reality app City in Time which offers an eye into the city’s past through historical panoramas and real-life surroundings.
Part of a project to bolster the city’s appeal ahead of the much-anticipated return of foreign visitors once the pandemic is under control, the app allows users to scan QR codes at designated markers in different locations within the city, offering a glimpse into what Hong Kong looked like in the past, showcasing the city’s history and culture.
A good option for Hongkongers bitten by the travel bug but currently with no place to go. This should offer some good solace from the wanderlust as it turns out time travel does not have a 14-day quarantine.
FCM Digital Health Wallet
Let’s face it, digital health wallets will become more commonplace as travellers resume flying internationally. The concept is not new as they have long been used to track traveller’s immunisations against certain diseases. Covid-19 has however, heightened the level of interest around the world.
Developed to solve the immediate needs of travellers coming into and out of Singapore, FCM’s Digital Health Wallet allows travellers to store results of Covid-19 related tests and vaccination – all in one place. Results can be synced directly into the app via digitally-enabled testing or vaccine clinics or if unavailable, stored by scanning a QR code or taking a photo of the results in physical copy.
While we hope for a day when travel can return to pre-covid days, FCM is making sure that our technology and people are there to support travellers in the meantime, making the return to travel as easy as possible.